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How to Keep Skunks Out of the Garden

Is there a skunk in your garden? They may be cute, but skunks are troublesome animals that will damage your landscaping and cause terrible odours. A single spray can be smelled from miles away. Luckily, skunks are mild-mannered creatures that can be kept out with just a few easy tips. Read on to see what you can do to keep skunks out of the garden.

Restrict their access to food

Skunks and other animals are attracted to yards where they can find food. As omnivores, these critters feed on all kinds of things. They eat bugs, grubs, earthworms, berries, vegetables, eggs, and more. Skunks are natural pest control experts that love to go digging in the garden for insects.

One of the most effective things you can do to keep skunks away is to limit their access to food. If you can, store your recycling bins and garbage cans in a shed until collection day. Use lidded receptacles and clean them every now and then to get rid of odours. Avoid leaving scraps of food on the ground after a meal outside. Cover the barbecue and avoid leaving any pet food out. You should also consider removing your bird feeders. These attract birds and skunks alike.

Keep fruits and vegetables out of reach

Growing produce in the garden is a bit tricky because it will attract wildlife. What you can do to keep them out is to put row covers or netting on top of your plants. Check out your local garden centre or hardware store and try installing these to keep skunks out. If you have fruit trees, pick their fruit when they are ripe and pick them up off the ground as soon as they fall.

You can also build raised garden beds next season. Skunks are bad at climbing, so they will have a hard time getting into your plants when they are a foot or two above ground. Raised beds are great because they extend the length of the growing season and protect the roots of your trees. Later, you can add mesh covers to your beds that hinge open, keeping all kinds of pests out.

Protect your deck and shed

Skunks are nocturnal animals that den underground. In nature, they den in fallen hollow trees, rock crevices, and the abandoned dens of other animals. In the city, they like to burrow under decks, sheds, patios, extensions, and other structures. It is therefore important that you block the holes in the sides of your deck and ensure that there are no gaps surrounding the shed.

To skunk-proof these structures, dig a trench along their perimeter, about a foot deep. Then, screw a thick steel mesh into their sides. A half-inch, galvanized steel mesh is ideal. Make sure that the mesh sticks out from the bottom of the structure. This will prevent skunks and other animals from digging underground. If it’s too much work, hire a professional wildlife remover to do it for you. Their skunk-proofing usually comes with a warranty.

Use natural skunk repellents

Skunks hate the smell of apple cider vinegar because it smells like predator urine. Try mixing one part apple cider vinegar with three parts water and spraying it on your plants and the sides of your deck. The spray will clean foliage and scare away skunks. You can also try soaking a few rags in apple cider vinegar and putting them in perforated sandwich bags. Place these bags around the deck or garden to keep skunks away. Dirty cat litter works the same way. Try putting some used cat litter in inconspicuous areas of the garden.

Electronic repellents may also prove useful. Motion-activated deterrents that flash lights or make high-pitched sounds scare skunks away when they come raiding the yard at night. Visit your local hardware store or look online for these repellents and put one or two in the garden.

What to do if there is a skunk on your property

If you have spotted a skunk in the yard, or if you are frequently finding holes in your garden, there may be a skunk living on your property. Check for claw marks on the sides of your deck, shed, or any other structure an animal could dig underneath. Be careful not to startle the animal because you risk getting sprayed. Try the following if you suspect that a skunk is living on your property.

Leave it alone

The easiest thing you can do is leave the animal alone. It will not be there forever. Female skunks den in the spring to raise their kits and leave in the summertime. In the winter, they do not technically hibernate, but skunks will hide in their dens throughout the colder months and be mostly inactive. If you can, give the animal some time, and it will leave.

Practice humane harassment

If the skunk is too much of a problem, you can try bothering it until it leaves. Point a flashlight into the den and leave it there all day. The light will make it harder for the animal to sleep. Similarly, you can turn on a radio and leave it near the den to encourage the animal to leave. Skunks are nocturnal creatures that want to sleep during the day.

Call a Wildlife Removal Company

The most effective solution is to hire a wildlife remover. Professionals are thoroughly trained in skunk removal and can remove the animals humanely. No one will get sprayed in the process.The professional you hire will likely put a one-way door to the entrance of the den to let the animals out on their own, then remove the door when they are gone. Because removers know skunks in and out, he or she can tell you if there are babies in the den and devise a plan to get them out safely.The remover can also keep them out by skunk-proofing the property for you. The tools and meshes that professionals use are highly effective and usually come with a warranty.

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